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As a sound engineer I get given a lot of pairs of headphones by shops and companies so I like to think I have quite a varied and in depth take on quality, I must admit i'm very particular when it comes to audio equipment.
These Mid-Range over ear headphones by sony retail at around £35-£40 which puts them above most budget pairs price wise, so out of the box I expected good frequency response across the field and a good build quality. They also claim to have a Noise cancelling circuit controlled by a switch. They are good looking and foldable headphones that are available in black and white, they are also adjustable on the arms for all head sizes.
LET'S start with the design and features. These are a wired pair of over ear headphones that have a 1.5m cable with an L-shaped gold plated 3.5mm jack connector (the standard for mp3 players). They have a noise cancelling circuit designed to actively cut out background noise that has an on/off switch. I would give the noise cancellation a 6/10, which for the price is quite good. They are foldable and come with a case so they are very portable. Now audio quality, they are better than what I would expect from a mid-range pair from Sony, the sound quality is very good. They have a good range, meaning they have good response to high, mid as well as bass frequencies, which is again quite rare for this range of headphones. I have tried them with a variety of music and have found that it is all very good. The clarity is good although when plugged into my hi-fi at higher levels they struggle a little, but for an mp3 player they are brilliant. If your into any sort of mixing or music creation these don't come recommended by me due to obvious frequency boosts that effect the mix.
RELIABILITY & BUILD
I have had these headphones for around 4 months and have used them around 4 times a week for long periods. I have had no problems besides the fact that after a while (and hour or so) they start to become uncomfortable. They are built to last with good materials, they do feel a little flimsy if i'm being particularly picky but this is common with collapsable headphones.
They are better than I would expect for the price. They have a great frequency range but they are boosted at certain frequencies so they dont have that desirable 'flat response' that audio geeks want, but most general consumer headphones don't...they do sound really good for most music types. They are built to last and would be ideal for everyday use. I would recommend these to those that want above average sound quality and want them for mp3 player use. They are collapsable which makes them highly portable which I like.
I bought a pair of these when stuck in Gatwick on Christmas 2009 for 6+ hours, I don't think I need to explain why! I had been looking around for a good but affordable pair of noise-cancelling headphones already and at that point I decided to take the plunge.
The benefits of the pair are clear, for me. I paid £40-ish for them and for that price they more than perform. With the noise-cancelling activated (with 1 AAA battery) the sound quality is excellent and suit wide ranges of music for the price. The sound-cancelling isn't as effective as you might hope (in the excitement of a new electronics purchase) but for the price paid I can't fault it.
They're also easily folded to fit in the included fabric case for travelling. As well as being good for travel, their lightness makes them more comfortable over time than larger headphones. They also aren't too tight with an adjustable headband for my over-sized head. The cable length is long enough for you to have your mp3/laptop computer on the other side of a desk and out the way while you listen. Finally, as I still have them a year later with regular use & no issues, the reliability and quality is high.
An honest review wouldn't be complete without considering disadvantages. In this case, I can only fault them for needing the noise-cancelling activated for premium sound quality which is addictive - it seems silly to lower the sound quality to save battery power when all it takes is the flick of a switch to turn it on - so I use the noise cancelling function all the time. However I seem to get much, much more life out of a battery than was originally suggested (8 hours or so) so this shouldn't be a significant monetary consideration. The main problem with this is just that there is a relatively high amount of sound leakage when the noise cancelling is activated, so not necessarily suitable for quiet public places like a library, or for guilty pleasures.
All in all, it goes to show that on that day in Gatwick I bought them as a Christmas present for my sister and after we opened the box and tried them (come on, it made sense) I immediately went back and bought my own, and haven't looked back since. And they're still working perfectly.
I bought these headphones about 6-months ago when I was in need of a pair to listen to music on the bus and from my lap-top whilst doing work. The main features I was looking for when scouring the internet through various makes and models included:
- Noise canceling abilities when it came to others sitting nearby.
- Foldability for easy storage inside my laptop bag.
- A clear and consise quality of sound.
- A comfortable fit (not compromised by bumpy bus journeys)
For me, the headphones delivered on all but a few of these features. Just as advertised on the internet, the headphones were very good at canceling out sound for both the wearer and people sitting nearby (as tested with friends), and they can be folded in a number of interesting ways to fit neatly into any compromisably sized bag.
But what about the quality of sound?
Well, when batteries (1 x AAA) are inserted into the left phone and the device is turned on (revealing a neatly lit red LED under the switch) the sound quality is nothing short of awesome! A deep, texture-filled sound is experienced regardless of the track you're listening to, and the headphones really do seem to compliment most songs which is excellent.
So how comfortable are they, really?
I've had little issue with the comfortability of these headphones up until very recently. For the first several months the soft material lining the inside of each phone was more than enough to keep your head nice and comfy and warm. But then, when I started using the headphones over longer periods of time I began to feel a slight irritation on the end of my ears, as though the pressure and elasticity from the device around my head was making them saw. To be fair to the headphones, I was using them around 8-hours a day at the time (due to a uni deadline I was working towards) which is probably more than most models could handle without the user feeling some signs of discomfort.
So about the batteries, a plus or a negative?!
Well, with the choice of utilising this feature or not, you would have thought they'd be an added bonus in order to save phone/mp3-player battery life. But instead you find that they are absolutely necessary in recieving that clear and consise sound quality I mentioned earlier. So this leaves me thinking they are kind of a negative attribute, just another thing you have to worry about and fund when all you really want is a simple device for use everyday.
One good point however: The battery only needs replacing every 2-3 months (even when used everyday) which is a testiment to the energy saving technological methods which seem to have been employed here.
Overall these headphones were well worth a purchase. I bought them from amazon.co.uk for just £25.00 (a half price offer which I doubt is still active), and if you can find this kind of price for them then do consider them very carefully ahead of other alternatives.